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08.06.2008 12:02

The generation of 87

Sandra Sarmiento

Leo Messi, Gerard Piqué and Martín Cáceres are the future of Barça. All three are 21 years old and will be playing together from July onwards. They are the class of 87.

There is plenty of young talent around Europe that was born in 1987, including Ben Arfa, Karim Benezma, Obi Mikel and Giuseppe Rossi, but there will be three particularly impressive cases playing at the Camp Nou next season: Leo Messi, Gerard Piqué and Martín Cáceres.

Former youth team colleagues

DSCF6570.JPGLeo Messi and Gerard Piqué have already played together at youth level. They were in the same Under 15 side when the centre back decided to move to Manchester’s junior side in 2004. Tito Vilanova, Guardiola’s assistant, managed Messi and Piqué in their younger days.

Now they are back together again. Messi is one of the stars of the Barça show, and is one of the finest players on the planet. The Argentinian may be the most famous of all the players of the 87 generation, but Piqué has matured a lot in the Premier League and should provide important structure to the Barça defence.

Cáceres storming onto the scene

caceres_mundialsub20.jpgMartín Cáceres, Barça’s latest signing, has the least experience of elite football. He made his debut for Defensor Sporting Club aged 19 and spent last season at Recreativo. Cáceres and Gerard Piqué met in Canada last summer in the FIFA Under 20 World Cup, while the Uruguayan has faced Messi in youth internationals in South America and also when Recreativo and Barça met at the Camp Nou and Nuevo Colombino last season.
The generation of 87
Remarkable source of talent
But this set of extraordinary footballers does not end there. Ex Barça player Cesc Fàbregas, and young promises Marc Valiente, Víctor Vázquez, Pau and Dani Plancheria as well as Greek club Aris’ Toni Calvo also formed part of the FC Barcelona generation of 87.

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